Anticipation Grows for UK General Election in 2024 as Prime Minister Sunak Mulls Timing

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As political observers eagerly await the possibility of a UK general election in 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision on the timing has become a subject of intense speculation. With the last nationwide vote occurring on December 12, 2019, the next election must take place by January 28, 2025, marking the five-year mark since the current parliament first convened.

The process of calling an election involves Sunak formally requesting King Charles III to “dissolve” parliament, traditionally done with a visit to Buckingham Palace. Subsequently, the prime minister, leader of the largest party in parliament, announces the election to the nation from outside Number 10 Downing Street.

The election announcement triggers a five-week campaign period, during which current Members of Parliament (MPs) lose their status and transition into candidates if they seek re-election. A “pre-election period” or “purdah” restricts government actions until the new government is elected.

The election itself involves 650 constituencies across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, using the “first-past-the-post” system, where voters choose one candidate per constituency, and the candidate with the most votes secures a parliamentary seat.

The Institute for Government suggests three likely windows for the election: May 2024, autumn 2024, and January 2025. May offers the advantage of aligning with scheduled local elections, reducing the risk of potential setbacks damaging the government’s reputation. An autumn election, potentially in October, would afford Sunak more time to fulfill key pledges, while a winter campaign in January is considered less likely due to the challenges associated with the holiday season.

The Conservative Party, in power since 2010, faces a challenging political landscape, consistently trailing the main opposition Labour Party in polls for over a year. Despite the current advantage for Labour leader Keir Starmer, political dynamics could shift in the lead-up to the election, potentially leading to a “hung parliament” if voter apathy towards both leaders prevails.

As Prime Minister Sunak contemplates the opportune moment for success, the political landscape remains dynamic, leaving room for unforeseen developments that could shape the outcome of the 2024 UK general election.

Soukaina Sghir

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